Ending a marriage or relationship is never easy, and challenges us in ways that we never imagined. The term “good divorce” or “good breakup” seems a complete contradiction. Yet, there are things that we can do that will help us to navigate our lives when the waters get choppy.
First, how do you speak about your ex? Is it negative, positive, with humor, with sadness, with resentment? Your words have power- power over you, your family and friends, and children. Talking about your former partner in a negative way in front of your loved ones can polarize and alienate friends who are already torn between the two of you. With your children, it will affect their self esteem and have a harmful impact on how they view you as a parent. If you are still feeling damaged over the break up- find a professional to help you work through those emotions and be more positive.
If you are feeling hopeless or discouraged at this new path that life is taking, surround yourself with a great support network of friends, family, or clergy. Build a team of people who can help you make good choices, sort out your alternatives, and steer you away from adversarial options. A strong network of people can be a lifeline when working through a break up or divorce, and help you with getting your life back on track. Look for anyone and everyone that might be a help to you, and approach them with your requests.
Don’t hesitate to involve a mediator in negotiating post relationship arrangements, such as splitting belongings or co-parenting. Hiring a professional can provide much needed perspective, leaving you with more emotional and physical energy to handle other important tasks. Taking care of your own needs is crucial during this time, and to rest and heal.
Take stock of what you have learned from the past few months, lessons that you have taken away from this past relationship. What would you do differently? What do you not want to bring with you to the next relationship? What good qualities have you found out about yourself? Use this time to reflect, journal, and really find our something new about yourself.
Whether welcome or not, breaking up and separations can be painful, and you may feel like the world will never be the same. You are going through a transition, but it does not have to be completely unconstructive. Formally recognizing the closing of this chapter of your life will help with healing and moving on.